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Kirby is Nintendo’s unsung hero when it comes to spinoffs. Yes, Mario is the main man, with a much longer list of appearances on this or any system. You can’t really argue with the likes of Kart and Party, but golf’s a different story. Mario had already hit the links a few times at that point, and those titles were fine. They were as faithful a recreation of the game as you could get.

But on the Super Nintendo, Nintendo decided to spice things up a bit in the form of Kirby’s Dream Course.

Starting life in a not-so-dreamy form as “Special Tee Shot,” Dream Course took more from mini golf than any country club. Deciding to give Kirby the spotlight, HAL Laboratory let its spherical hero roll onto the scene and liven up the presentation and gameplay in equal measure.

Players would shoot Kirby around floating, checkerboard patterned courses in order to clear out Dedede’s minions and collect some stolen stars. Hitting them would let you copy their abilities when appropriate, bringing the Kirby flavor to the gameplay. Golf had always been missing the ability to turn into a UFO or Freeze water hazards, but Kirby got it covered.

In another twist, the hole wouldn’t even show up until all the enemies were taken care of, and there was no par for the courses here. Instead, you had to get to the end without depleting Kirby’s health bar. All of this blends together for one of the pink puff’s finest spinoffs. It was his first appearance on the SNES, with enough to follow to make Kirby one of the most recurring characters on the platform that wasn’t in the company of plumbers.

Playing with friends

Saving all the stars from King Dedede is great and all, but that’s not where memories are made. No, it’s all about multiplayer here, tweaking the formula of the game to accommodate the second player. You’ll take turns shooting and the winner of each hole is determined by who gathered up the most stars total, with the hole giving two and often being the deciding factor in a tight matchup. It all sounds pleasant enough, but even the most even tempered friends may end up a little grumpy if they play it long enough together.

So when you’re sitting down with your SNES Classic and wondering what to play, take a look around. See if any of your closest friends or loving family members are nearby. Give ‘em a smile, pass the controller over and fire up Kirby’s Dream Course. You’ll either come closer together and share some laughs over this adorable back-and-forth game, or spend the next several hours absolutely hating each other’s existence over some stolen stars. Whichever it is, it’s all thanks to one of the best times Kirby’s ever offered outside of his super deluxe adventures.

Looking for more SNES Classic goodness while you wait for the release of Nintendo’s newest mini machine? You can view more articles featuring the beloved games throughout the month in our Super September series!

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.